A couple of months later, my friend Mary called me up and said it’s on again. I tape recorded it; I transcribed it, and this is when I became really interested in watching not what people say, but how they say it. Particularly when they run out of words. In the case of a person like Sophia Loren, when she runs out of words, she’s even greater because the real space is her physical space. And her physical space comes first; the words fit in to that. I remembered everything Sophia did. Whereas with Joan, I remember everything she said, and I don’t have a single image of anything about her appearance. See what I mean? And that just sent me down this way of watching talk shows all the time. Transcribing them and watching them for how people behave in the moment the interviewer questions their identity—usually it’s threatening.
— Read on bombmagazine.org/articles/anna-deavere-smith/